Oprah retains participation in Discovery because the company takes 95% of OWN

Oprah Winfrey has shifted most of her interest in OWN to a small property in Discovery, the home of the reality show “90 Day Fiancé.”

According to an SEC filing Tuesday, Winfrey acquired a stake of less than 1 percent in the $ 35 million Discovery as part of a deal that boosted the company’s stake in OWN.

OWN, known for “Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class,” “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” and “The Haves and the Have Nots,” is a joint venture between Discovery, which owns Food Network, TLC, HGTV and other channels, and Winfrey’s Harpo.

Discovery and Harpo’s initial agreement to form OWN in 2008 included options for Harpo to sell its stake in the network, and since then Discovery has slowly expanded its stake in OWN. According to the 2008 annual Discovery report, the billionaire media mogul has reached an agreement that would require Discovery to buy part or all of its shares in OWN that would expire at the end of 2020.

The new deal increases Discovery ownership in OWN from 73% to 95% and allows Winfrey to shift most of Harpo’s interest in OWN to voting for Series A shares in Discovery, a source told The Post.

Winfrey will continue to serve as OWN’s executive director and creative director, although he now holds only a 5% stake. A representative for Winfrey did not comment.

Harpo now owns about 1.34 million shares of Discovery, less than 1 percent of the company’s regular Class A shares, and registered 670,477 of them for a possible sale, the file said on Tuesday.

“Oprah Winfrey has the voting power and disposition over the shares of the Series A common shares held by Harpo”, whose sole shareholder, it is shown in the file. He added that Harpo should not sell all or any of the shares. It is understood that sales of shares would cover the tax cost of the transaction.

At Monday’s closing Discovery share price of $ 27.37, the $ 1.34 million share was worth about $ 36.7 million.

In 2017, Discovery paid $ 70 million to buy an additional 24.5 percent stake in OWN to increase its ownership to 73 percent, but the agreement also took into account the net debt of the network, the companies said at the time. Winfrey then agreed to continue his role as CEO of OWN, with his commitment to network exclusivity extended to 2025.

Since the launch of OWN in 2011, it has been Winfrey’s main home on television. However, in 2018, Winfrey entered into a multi-year content partnership with Apple, which would allow the tycoon to host and produce TV shows, movies and special offers for the technology giant’s new streaming service, AppleTV +.

Tuesday’s news comes as Discovery prepares to launch its own international streaming service, Discovery +, next month. Although Discovery + will focus on script-free programming, such as food, home and reality shows, it will compete directly with Apple TV +.